The Vatican

Laudate Deum. The good use of nature against environmental and human degradation.

Laudate Deumwhich will be published on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4, aims to integrate the themes of Laudato sipublished in 2015.

Antonino Piccione-September 28, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes


The title of Pope Francis' next Apostolic Exhortation will be. Laudate Deum. This was announced by the Pontiff himself last Thursday, September 21 (the news was not made public until Monday by Vatican News), during a meeting with some rectors of Latin American universities. Among the topics discussed were migration, climate change and exclusion.

The Pope urged university leaders to be creative in the formation of young people based on current realities and challenges. The rectors asked the Pope questions on environmental and climate issues to which he responded by pointing out the deplorable "throw-away culture or culture of abandonment".

He explained that this is "a culture of misuse of natural resources, which does not accompany nature to its full development and does not allow it to live". This culture of neglect," he said, "harms us all.

Laudate Deumwhich will be published on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4, aims to integrate the themes of Laudato si, published in 2015. On the same day as the solemn opening of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and the conclusion of the Feast of Creation (also known as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation).

The feast of St. Francis of Assisi was also the date of publication of the encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

The reflection on the culture of waste, which will find a broader and more specific treatment in the pages of the document announced, starts from what the Holy Father denounces as "a lack of education to use the things that remain, to remake them, to replace them in the order of the common use of things".

Integrating the discarded

Encouraging a "good use of nature," which includes practical actions that can help the environment, Francis pointed out how environmental degradation can lead to another kind of "degradation," namely in the way we treat others, especially those already living with fewer resources.

The Pontiff's words were harsh: "The discarded, the marginalized, are men and women, entire peoples that we leave on the street like garbage, are they not? We must be aware that we use the wealth of nature only for small groups through socio-economic theories that do not integrate nature, the discarded'.

In the background, then, is the call to human ecology, a formulation used for the first time by the Pope Benedict XVI, with reverberations on the defense of life and human dignity.

And the call to maintain "humanistic values" and the promotion of "fraternal dialogue". Without forgetting the noblest vocation of the human person, politics. "In the broadest sense of the term (...) Having political openness and knowing how to dialogue with maturity with political groups, politics is not a disease, in my opinion it is the noblest vocation of a society, because it is the one that carries forward the processes of development".

In this regard, the Pope urged universities to create awareness networks. To one of the participants he said: "And at this point you use a very beautiful word, which is to organize hope".

"Recover and organize hope," Francis said, "I like this phrase that you said to me and one cannot help but consider it in the context of integral ecology, in this dimension according to which the young people of today have the right to a balanced cosmos and have the right to hope, and we must help them to organize this hope, to make very serious decisions starting from this moment."

After stressing the importance of a "regenerative culture" as opposed to the "culture of dispossession," the poisoned fruit "of an economic crisis that is not always at the service of the development of those most in need," Francis advocated alternatives that help overcome the environmental crisis and gave as an example the use of solar panels to supply electricity to the Paul VI Hall and other areas of the Vatican. "We have to be very creative in these things to protect nature" because obviously electricity is made from coal or other elements, which always create problems in nature itself and "the young people we train must become leaders on this point, convinced."

The authorAntonino Piccione

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